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Flight to the School
The other occupants of the carriage stared at Hermione as they let this new information sink in. The twins hadn't known, and didn't know the relevance. However, the time travellers did. In all honestly, Ron, Harry and Ginny had all forgotten about Malfoy paying his traditional visit before they had left. Now, though, they realised that it could be a problem. If, for some reason, Dumbledore didn't want Voldemort and the rest of the school to know the truth, then the blond boy could make life very difficult. He would surely tell his father, who would then take the information to Voldemort. This could be dangerous for a number of reasons. Most importantly, it could jeapardise Severus' position as Dumbledore's spy. If Lucius Malfoy went to the Dark Lord with the information before the Death Eater that was actually stationed at Hogwarts, Sev's loyalty would undoubtedly be questioned.
We could obliviate him, Ron finally suggested.
We can't guarantee that'll work, Hermione countered, I mean, Crabbe and Goyle were there as well, so we'd have to alter their memories too. The problem is, we don't know if they've mentioned their visit to any of the other Slytherins. If they happened to mention anything about our appearance to anyone else, and then they suddenly can't remember it, whoever they told would become suspicious and might be able to break the memory charm.
Who's to say they mentioned it to anyone, Harry pointed out.
Who's to say they didn't, Hermione retorted, We've no way of knowing. I think we'll just have to leave it for now, and see what Dumbledore says. If it's a problem, we'll worry about it then.
The others nodded in agreement and the group lapsed into silence as each of the seventh years became lost in their own thoughts. Several minutes later, a frown wrinkled Fred's brow as he spotted something in front of the window.
Is that Scabbers? he asked as he pointed to the fat grey rat encased in a glass jar. The eyes of the time travellers widened as they realised they still had Peter Pettigrew in captivity. Over the course of the last three years, they had forgotten a lot of the specifics of their lives before they left, this being such a thing.
Peter! Harry exclaimed, I forgot we had him!
Who's Peter? George asked in confusion.
The rat! It's really Peter Pettigrew.
Isn't he dead? Fred asked, just as lost by the conversation as his twin.
No! He was the one that blew up the street of Muggles, and the one who betrayed my parents and framed Sirius, Harry explained. The twins' eyes grew wide as they heard this.
Sirius?! You mean Sirius Black, the escaped murderer? George exclaimed.
Yes, he's my godfather. And he didn't murder anyone. He was set up.
Are you sure, Harry? I mean, have you actually spoken to him?
Of course. We met at the end of my third year, and he visited during the Triwizard Tournament. We write to each other as often as we can as well, but sometimes it's difficult as he's on the run.
Fred turned to the other three and sent them questioning looks.
It's true, Ron said, I've met him too, and so has Hermione. He's really nice when you get to know him, and very protective of Harry.
I've not met him, Ginny told her brothers, But Harry's told me all about him.
I think you'd get on with him as well, Harry said with a grin, I'm sure Padfoot would like to meet the new terrors of Hogwarts.
The twins gaped at him and nearly fell out of their seats when they heard what Harry called Sirius.
Padfoot?! Padfoot from the Marauders?!
The very same. We got to see all four of them in action last year, and we even had a prank war, Ron told his envious brothers.
Who won? George asked.
We never decided a winner. There were several incidents that meant it was called off at the last minute, the Boy-Who-Lived explained.
What sort of incidents?
I'd rather not talk about it, Harry said uncomfortably, It's a time in my life I'd rather not remember. If you want to know about it, ask Moony.
Who was Moony? And who were the other two?
Well, Wormtail is Peter Pettigrew, the evil little Death Eater.
Wormtail was a Death Eater? George gasped, One of the infamous Marauders was one of You-Know-Who's followers?!
Yes. The filthy traitor.
What about the other two?
Well, Moony is Remus Lupin, you'll remember him from your fifth year. And Prongs was James Potter, Ginny said. The twins looked at Harry with a new respect.
We salute you, son of Prongs, the mighty prankster, Fred said with a laugh. A grin broke over Harry's face, banishing the dark thoughts the conversation was raising. It had occurred to him that he was discussing people who were dead, and events that had passed years ago, yet to him it was only a couple of hours. A couple of hours since he had seen his parents living and breathing, and now he was back to being an orphan. This train of thought brought his mind back to the problem at hand.
What are we going to do with the rat? I mean, he'll have heard our conversation, and as he's seen us he'll have his memories of his fifth year back.
We'll have to obliviate him, Hermione said, If for some reason he does escape, he can't go back to his master and tell him anything. I hope it doesn't happen, but you never know. Not even an unbreakable jar is foolproof, and even if we do give him to the Ministry, he might escape from Azkaban.
Good point. Who wants to do the honours? Ron asked.
I will, his sister replied, I'm good with memory charms.
Alright, Gin. Just make sure to erase everything about our current conversation, and put an anti-eavesdropping charm on the jar so he can't hear anything else, Harry asked as he put an arm around the girl's waist. Ginny nodded and lifted her hand, moving in a complicated pattern and muttering under her breath. When she was done, she noticed that Fred and George were giving her and Harry funny looks.
Harry, mate, why have you got your arm around our sister? Fred asked.
And why aren't you saying anything about it, Ron? George queried.
Fred, George, I have my arm around Ginny because she's my girlfriend, Harry said tentatively, a look of apprehension on his face. He had dreaded telling the Weasleys about him and Ginny. Six brothers were a lot to contend with, as well as having Mrs. Weasley to satisfy. He had been dreading it ever since they got together. Ron, surprisingly, had been alright with it after he had given Harry the `If you ever hurt my sister ' talk. As he pointed out, at least Ron knew what sort of person Harry was. It was better than his little sister dating a stranger. Harry watched for the twins' reaction, and was relieved when he saw two identical grins spread across their faces.
I guess Ron gave you the talk, Fred said.
The one about taking care of her?
That's the one.
Yeah, he did. Then he welcomed me to the family.
Good on him! Harry, you know we want Ginny to be cared for, and we couldn't think of anyone better for her than you, George told him sincerely.
Thank you. I love Ginny, and would never do anything to hurt her.
The girl in question started at this. In the months they had been going out, Harry had never admitted that he loved her. He said he cared for her, but not that he loved her. A grin spread across her face and she kissed him.
You love me?
I love you, Gin.
I love you too, Harry.
The group sat together in the compartment for another half hour before Hermione realised how late it was getting. The twins, who normally only visited their siblings on the train for a few minutes, had stayed over an hour, and were enjoying hearing some of the stories the time travellers were telling them. They were disappointed when Hermione brought the conversation to a close.
Everyone, I think it's time we went up to the school. The train will arrive in an hour and a half, and it'll take us a while to fly there. If we leave it any later, we'll have to apparate to Hogsmeade and fly from there.
I think we should do that anyway. I mean, we'll have to apparate out of the train anyway, so we may as well go there. We can't transform here and leap out of the window. I think people may notice that, Ginny pointed out.
Will you show us your animagus forms later? Fred asked, having been curious to see them after they had described the forms to the twins.
We'll show you after the feast, Harry said, I'll take you to the room Godric Gryffindor gave me. We'll have enough space there, and we can show you stuff while we're there. I might even take you to visit my house.
The one you had built?
Yeah. It's called Domus Corvus Corax, and has been the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix ever since its founding. It's a lovely building, and you'll be able to see our class portraits from the years we've lived. I had all three made into paintings, and they're hanging in my house, along with the statues of the friends we lost.
Great. We'll meet you in the common room after the feast and you can take us, George confirmed.
Sure, that's fine.
The four time travellers then gathered their belongings up and shrunk them with a wave of their hands, placing them into their pockets. Pig and Hedwig were set free to make their own way to the school and their cages were also shrunk. Crookshanks and Wormtail were entrusted to the twins, who promised to take very good care of them, encouraged by Harry who threatened to try out some of the more painful Dark Arts curses he knew if they let Pettigrew escape. Once they were ready, Harry checked that he still had Simbi and Nirah curled around his wrists before giving the signal. With four *pop*s, the Weasley twins stood alone in the train compartment.
The four time travellers reappeared in the middle of Hogsmeade, surprising an old witch who was just coming out of Honeydukes. She gave them an annoyed look before continuing on her way to the Three Broomsticks. Looking around to make sure no-one was watching, the four headed over to the Shrieking Shack, and hid behind it as they transformed. Ron's thestral form immediately became invisible and lifted off the ground, closely followed by Hermione as an owl and Ginny's pelican. They flew around to keep a lookout for Harry, whose winged snow leopard might attract some unwanted attention. The two birds wouldn't be given a second glance, but a flying cat would. When they were sure Harry wouldn't be spotted, Ron let out a loud whinny and the younger boy spread his wings and leapt into the air. Before they knew it, all four were soaring high over the Forbidden Forest, looking over to the turrets of the castle visible over the tree line. Each was lost in his or her own thoughts, but all considering the same problem. What their friends and family would say.
Ron and Ginny were thinking very similar things. What was their mother going to think? They both believed she would be the one to take it the hardest. After all, she had missed three years of her children's lives. They could already picture her reaction in their minds, as she started to cry upon seeing them. Then she would give them the inevitable lecture about playing with magical amulets without knowing what they did. Once she found out about their skills, she would be proud, but at the same time angry at them for risking their lives in the numerous battles they had attended.
Mr. Weasley would react differently. He would initially be pleased to see them, and then start to berate them for the risks they took in the past. Of course, being an Order member, he would know all about their exploits. Trying to talk to him about Persephone would be the hard part. Both Ginny and Ron were in agreement on one point, though. They wanted their father to tell the rest of the family about his sister. They would help, as they had been friends with her. The pair also wanted to visit her tomb, to pay their respects.
The rest of the family wouldn't be much of a problem. Bill and Charlie would be interested, wanting to hear more about their travels. Percy would pretend to be uninterested, but would gobble up any information they let slip to him. Any other family members hadn't seen them for a long time, so they would just put their changed appearances down to them being growing teenagers. Their friends could be a problem, though. They were leaving their year groups behind and joining the seventh years, and this was sure to affect the friendships they had. It wouldn't be so bad for Ron, as his two best friends had been with him, but for Ginny it would be very hard.
Harry and Hermione also had the problem with their classmates, but they had other things to worry about. Hermione didn't know what she was going to tell her parents. How was she to explain time travel to a pair of dentists? Muggles just couldn't accept something like that as well as witches and wizards. Although they supported Hermione being a witch, they didn't ask too many complicated questions about magic or the wizarding world because they knew it was beyond their understanding. Something like the amulet of time incident would be hard for them to accept.
It wasn't too bad for Harry, when all was said and done. He knew Sirius would be a bit strange to confront, but on the bright side he could think about the Dursleys, and how he was now old enough to leave home. He would never have to go back to Privet Drive again. As for the rest of his family, that would be something he would have to investigate. Heather, as far as he knew, was living in the Muggle world somewhere. He mentally noted to send Petunia an owl asking for his other aunt's address, if she had it. Tracking down Eustace and Minh would be another matter, though. He hadn't been told that they were dead, but on the other hand, if they had been alive after the fall of Voldemort, they would have taken him in. He was sure of it. So, the question remained. Where were the Potters?